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Ramblers step in to wind row

RAMBLERS are taking to the hills this month to take in the sights for what they claim could be the last time.

The walkers are aiming to raise awareness of how the countryside could be changed forever by wind farms.

The Ramblers’ Association and South Wales communities, supported by the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW), has organised the event called Clear Horizon.

A large swathe of land above Neath and Port Talbot has been designated by the Assembly as suitable for wind farm developments.

With turbines now commonly reaching 130m (400ft), the ramblers fear there will be a huge impact on upland landscapes and the communities living there. They want to make the people of South Wales aware of what is happening in their locality and to ask people to make their views known to their AMs and local council.

Martin Dowson, countryside campaigner for the Ramblers’ Association Wales, said: “Wind farms play an important role in reducing carbon emissions, but their damaging impact on the landscape, at this scale of development, should not be underestimated.”

“We do not think people generally realise the scale of these developments, or indeed the impact that the digging up of the hills to support the building of turbine foundations and service tracks will have. By asking people to join these walks, we want to show what a special place it is we live in, and the qualities that will be lost if these plans go ahead.”

“If wind farms are to proceed, we need to think very carefully about where they are to go”.

He said the Government should invest in a much wider range of renewable energy sources, such as tidal, bio-fuels, micro-generation and offshore wind farms.

Peter Ogden, director of CPRW, said: “The views, open spaces and freedom provided by the hills and uplands of Wales are one of our most important yet undervalued community assets. The cancerous spread of onshore wind farms across the uplands of South Wales will therefore do little more than blight the uplands of the Valleys and deprive local people of the opportunity to enjoy them”.

Newspaper: The Courier
Date: 16/01/07